Kwara State AIDS Control Agency (KWASACA) says it is committed to ensuring that HIV/AIDS in the state is under proper control with a view to move from the current one percent to zero infection.
Seleem Alabi, medical doctor and the programme director of the agency stated this while speaking with journalists on the World AIDS day celebration in Ilorin held on Wednesday.
According to him, about 900 health facilities, located in rural areas of the state, had been resuscitated to offer AIDS services, ensure identification and administering of drugs to AIDS victims as well as ensure the effective campaign against the disease.
“testing to know the status of people is the most effective way to control the HIV/AIDS and that it would ensure those that are negative remain negative and those positive take their drugs, receive counseling and not spread the disease,” said Alabi.
The programme director further said that HIV/AIDS drugs had the capacity to extend the life of victims as long as 44 years, especially with adequate counselling.
Alabi, pointed out that the state shared boundaries with South West states such as Ekiti, Osun, Oyo as well as Benin Republic, saying that members of the communities come in contact with immigrants who come and go out of the areas through agripreneurship and socioeconomic activities, adding that the development had made such rural communities in the Kwara North senatorial district like Kosubosu, Baruten, Gureh, Chikanda, among others prone to the spread of the disease.
He, therefore, expressed appreciation to the current state government for proving adequate intervention which has helped the agency to perform efficiently, enjoined Nigerians to know their status and desist from stigmatising against people living with the virus, saying it is not a death sentence.
Earlier, , Kayode Alabi, deputy governor of Kwara State who is also the chairman of the agency, said that the state has a one percent HIV prevalence rate, even below the national average rate of 1.5 percent, noting that the feat would be a basis for more efforts, such as eradicating mother to child transmission of the virus and ensuring attainment of zero new infection.
“The state government has resuscitated the moribund health system and give strong support to critical interventions to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in the state. Plans are underway to take HIV/AIDS service deliverables to communities by the management of the AIDS Control Agency,” he said.
The deputy governor explained that the theme for this years is “Communities make the difference” recognizes the valuable contribution and role the community plays in stemming the trend of HIV/AIDS transmission in urban and rural communities.
Alabi assures Kwarans that the government would empower all stakeholders to win the war against HIV/AIDS in the state.
The Deputy Governor said that Nigerians should desist from stigmatising against people living with the virus, saying it is not a death sentence as research has shown that with the right medications, the victim could leave up forty-four years.
He therefore urged that Nigerians to have a change of attitude and called for collaboration to win the war against the virus.
SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin